Northern League

Frequently Asked Questions

Standings & Awards

All Star Games



Divisional Championship Series

The winner of the first half plays the winner of the second half for the Divisional Championship in a "best of five" series.If the same team wins both the first and second half championship, the team with the second best FULL seasonrecord (in 2002 this had been second half record) in either division is the opponent in the championship. In that case the final team to make the playoffs is a "wildcard" entry. If there is a tie for the first half championship in a division a one game playoff is usually played between those teams.

Semi-Final Home Field Advantage

Home field advantage goes to the winner of the second half. The winner of the first half (always) hosts games 1 and 2. Home field advantage is hosting game 3, then games 4 and 5 if necessary. If the same team wins both halves, it gets home field advantage but hosts games 1, 2 & 5 (if necessary).

League Championship Series

The winners of the divisional series play each other in the League Championship, which is also a best of five series.

Championship History

First Years ('93-'95; pre-expansion)

During the first three seasons of the Northern League there were only six teams in a "single division." The league championship was a best of five series between the first and second half winners.

During the inaugural 1993 season, the Rochester Aces won the first half and the St. Paul Saints the second. The Saints won the championship showing the importance of the "half season opportunity" to make the post season.The following season ('94) the Sioux City Explorers won the first half, but lost the trophy to the Winnipeg Goldeyes who overcame an .400 first half.

In '95, the Saints won both halves of the season and played the Winnipeg Goldeyes who had the second best record for the year. The Saints were not given home field advantage and only hosted games 1 & 2. League rules were changed the following year since this removed the "incentive" for the first half winner to compete in the second half.

Expansion Seasons ('96-'98; prior to Northeast League Merger)

Expansion during the '96 season created the first divisions of the league into two groups of four (East & West). It also introduced the first divisional championships. During the '96 season these were a best of three series. This changed to a best of five series the following year. 1996 also saw a first half tie in the East between St. Paul and Madison. A one game playoff determined the winner (which St. Paul won).

In '97, the Duluth-Superior Dukes came on strong at the end of the season to win the second half of the East, then beat the Saints (first half winners) and Goldeyes (west champions and first half winners) despite being under .500for the full season. 1998 was the "Year of the RedHawks" who dominated the league with a .753 season, winning both halves, the East and League championship.

Through the first six years of the league all teams except Sioux Falls made it into the post season. All expansion teams (Winnipeg '94, Madison & Fargo-Moorhead '96) have done this it in their first seasons. The Saints collected half the championships during this period ('93, '95, & '96) with the other years won by three other teams(Goldeyes '94, Dukes '97, RedHawks '98).

The Merger Years ('99-'02)

During the years of the merger with the old Northeast League the post season expanded even longer with a "World Series-like" championship between the best of the Northern League East and Central. Divisional alignments unchanged, the new league championship is a simple extension of the old(league) championship series --except with a long flight between the two winners ballparks.

The first major championship (1999) went to the Albany-Colonie Diamond Dogs who defeated Winnipeg in four games. In 2000 the Adirondack Lumberjacks swept the Dukes in three straight games. The 2001 & 2002 champioships were played between the New Jersey Jackals & Winnipeg Goldeyes. In both seasons the Jackals took the trophy with the Northern League East completing a sweep during these years

Post Merger Years ('03-)

After the "split" the Northern League reverted to a 10-team, two division format similar to the pre-merger years. The 2003 champions were the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks who beat the arch-rival Winnipeg Goldeyes.